Websites are read by humans, not robots

22 November 2017 #WordPress

In the quest for search engine optimisation many believe they need to write keyword-stuffed content. That if we write text that the robots are looking for, people soon will follow.

This thinking doesn’t work. If every time you used Google you were presented with useless, keyword-stuffed text — instead of relevant information — you’d never use Google again.

It’s in Google’s interest to surface relevant content to interested people with every search.

In 2011 Google combined machine learning with humans that were tasked with evaluating the quality of thousands of websites. The result of this work upended over 20% of Google search results. Robots do the heavy lifting but human interpretation matters!

So stop thinking what a robot might think and read your website the way a human would. Which you are. Of course…

Get to the point

One of the 12 basics in Reuters Handbook of Journalism is checking your first sentence.

“If there are more than 25 words in your first sentence, it may start to get hard on the reader’s brain. Simply breaking the sentence in two can be a very useful way of shortening your lead.”

Start your content strong and get to the point. Your first sentence will likely play a big role in whether someone sticks around on the page or not!

Keep it short, and…

Keep it simple

There are many online tools to test how easy your content is to read. And it’s important. Having a great vocabulary might impress your friends but it’ll bounce a lot of visitors.

The Flesch-Kincaid readability tests will score your text for complexity. Long sentences, rare and overly long words will impact your score negatively. I recommend using to check your website, it’s one of the five checks I recommend in my Health Check Your Website 5 Ways in 5 Minutes eBook.

Write it relevant

Look back through your emails and find the most common questions you’re asked. That’s blog material right there.

Writing regular, quality content demonstrates to website visitors that you have authority on the subject. That you’re online, motivated and active.

Just write something

The great thing about publishing online is that nothing is set in stone! Don’t wait for perfect hand-crafted website content to magically appear. Just start writing. Revise over time. Over and over.

“Perfect is the enemy of done”

See my guide on committing to content to make writing website copy easier. But most importantly, stress less about robots, SEO, Facebook, Google and whatever else might be out there and focus on the most important reader of all: people.

Latest blog posts

Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash Guide: Tune your WordPress website and TripAdvisor to your advantage
Adventure Junky Visit Design Podcast, Episode 3
Visit Design Podcast Visit Design Podcast, Episodes 1 and 2